Parents told of measles risk abroad
The HSE has warned parents holidaying in Europe to vaccinate their children against measles -- following a large outbreak of the disease across the continent.
So far in 2011, 42 cases of measles have been reported in Ireland, and one in five of these cases were either related to recent European travel or to contact with infected individuals from countries where measles outbreaks occurred.
More than 10,000 cases of measles and four related deaths have occurred in 18 European countries, said Dr Suzanne Cotter, the HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Officer.
And she urged parents who take children to Europe on holiday to vaccinate them before they leave.
"If someone is going to a village in France, and they know there's a lot of measles in that village, then they're better off getting the vaccine.
"It can take up to a month to develop immunity but it depends on the child. Ideally it's good to have the MMR as long before travel as they can."
Currently, 90pc of children in Ireland have received one dose of MMR by 24 months of age, which is below the target of 95pc to prevent cases of measles and measles outbreaks, according to the HSE.
Dr Cotter added: "Many cases are due to travel of infected people between countries. As there is more travel between Europe and Ireland over the summer, there is an increased risk to Irish children and teenagers who are not fully vaccinated against measles.
"There have been significant outbreaks in France, Spain and Belgium, which are popular destinations for Irish families."